There is a time and a place for slang. Your job is not the place. According to the University of North Carolina, slang is informal, nonstandard words or phrases that tend to originate in subcultures in society. For example, saying, "That new movie is sick." Normally the word sick would refer to someone not feeling well. With some groups of people, the phrase would mean the movie is good. Slang language is open to interpretation. This can be challenging when you have customers from other locations. When on the job, it's best to eliminate slang to avoid confusion and keep it professional.
Communicate in simple language that is easily understood. Avoid technical terms pertinent to your profession. If you have been to college for technology, chances are someone in accounting won't understand your tech vocabulary.
Pay attention to your client or co-worker's vocabulary. Use words you know they understand. If you speak to someone from the same area you are in, you can usually talk the way you normally would. If the person is from another location, try to pick up on their vocabulary.
Consult a thesaurus when writing. If you are stuck on a slang word you normally use, look it up in a thesaurus to locate a common word with the same meaning. Be careful when you choose your words. When you speak, pay close attention to the words you use and avoid using slang terms and jargon.
Take classes on international language differences. If your company frequently deals with customers from another country, familiarize yourself with common phrases used in that area. Not only will you impress the client, you will learn something new.
Gauge the reaction of the person you are talking to. If they do not understand what you are talking about, you will see a look of confusion on their face. This will give you an indication you need to clarify yourself.
Improve your vocabulary skills. Sign up for an email "word-of-the-day." The more expansive your vocabulary, the less you will feel you need to use slang.
Listen to others when they speak. Make note when you hear someone using excessive slang and bring it up to your supervisor. Be careful and don't spend your time tattling on others. If you hear someone consistently speaking with slang or colloquialisms, mention it casually to someone higher up so it can be dealt with.
Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.